Eurobike 1: Ivan Basso’s show no-show

Procycling's Ellis Bacon reports from Germany

While trawling the aisles of Germany’s Eurobike trade show for shiny new products, Procycling’s Ellis Bacon finds time for a bit of big-name hunting, stumbling across a veritable spectrum of pro roadies past and present.

A surreal twist was added to aero-bar-and-all-things-good manufacturer FSA’s press briefing at the Eurobike trade show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, when special guest Ivan Basso failed to show.

Citing training commitments, the Italian, who has served a two-year ban for not doping, but for drawing out his blood to have a think about it, was instead reached by telephone. There ensued an apology from the soon-to-be Liquigas and former CSC and Discovery Channel rider for his absence to the gathered press via an entertaining ‘microphone-to-the-mobile-phone-speaker’ manoeuvre. We quite literally didn’t know where to look.

FSA brass, listening to Ivan Basso over the speaker

Making up for Basso’s lack of presence at the show was CSC-Saxo Bank pairing Fabian Cancellara and Kurt Asle Arvesen. The Olympic time trial champion and Tour de France stage winner, respectively, signed posters for hordes of fans on first the Craft clothing stand before Cancellara took receipt of a new pair of special Olympic Sidi shoes ahead of satisfying more autograph hunters at the Prologo saddles booth. You can’t deny they don’t earn their money.

Talking of money, the spaghetti junction of bike manufacturers changing teams for next year becomes ever-more mind-boggling on the day that Canyon announced they were to provide bikes to Cadel Evans’s Silence-Lotto squad.

One bike-less, and possibly soon-to-be-non-existent, team, Scott-American Beef (née Saunier Duval) had their manager Mauro Gianetti wandering the stands. He told me there was “still no news” regarding his team and a main sponsor for next season after Scott pulled out and headed to Team Columbia as bike sponsor for next year.

“No news is good news!” I cheerfully chirruped, but Gianetti wasn’t having any of such an optimistic English expression, and instead proceeded to open his heart and tell me that even if there was a sponsor for 2009, he was still taking a long, hard look as to whether he wanted to continue in cycling at all, such was his disappointment in former charge Riccardo Ricco’s positive test and subsequent admission to having used EPO during the Tour.

The Cannibal, Belgian Eddy Merckx

Elsewhere, Super Mario, aka The Lion King, aka his perfectly acceptable real name, Mario Cipollini, was doing the rounds of Italian brands, as was the undisputed king himself, Eddy Merckx – loitering around his own brand of bikes. There were even rumours of ‘Der Kaiser’, Jan Ullrich, putting in an appearance, but we haven’t spotted him yet. We’ll check the Bratwurst stands tomorrow.

So, plenty of star names, then, but what’s new product-wise? Plenty, too – and we’ll give you a taster in our next blog posting, before we offer you the pick of the bunch in next month’s issue of Procycling. But we’ve certainly seen some ’09 stuff that’s well worth looking forward to; we’ve put in our order for Look’s simply stunning one-piece aero crank set already.

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